Joshua heard the explosions at school

Joshua* (12) was at school in South Sudan when the war began. He heard the explosions from his classroom. All the children were sent home - but when Joshua arrived at his house there was no one there. Joshua has now found safety in Uganda - but he still doesn’t know where his father and sisters are…

Joshua fled the violence in South Sudan together with a group of boys. For a week they walked through the woods and swamps. When they reached a house they heard voices and hid in the bushes. A mother was breastfeeding her baby. She was surrounded by rebels and begged them to - at the very least - spare the life of her child.

"The rebels discussed the best way to kill her,” Joshua remembers. “They said that you have to put the knife in the back of the neck and then move it to the front." With his hands he shows what he means. “This is how they killed her. They threw away the baby.”

Journey to Uganda

There was nothing Joshua and the others could do. They continued their journey to Uganda. When they reached the river that marks the border they saw that it was full of corpses.

Joshua knows his aunt is in Uganda too and with nothing more than her phone number, he and the Ugandan police try to trace her. They succeed - his aunt and sisters have safely reached Uganda and Joshua is reunited with them in the Bidibidi settlement.

"I have to think a lot about what has happened,” Joshua confesses. “Apart from going to school, I don´t like it here. I miss my stuff. Here I only have two pairs of clothes and some school books. And I miss my father. His name is John.

“At night I dream about him. I dream we are playing together."